Transformers Generations Titans Return Leader
Item No.: Asst. B4697 No. B4701 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:Twin Cast, MP3 player slug, Electro-Scrambler Action Feature:Transforms from head to robot, also robot to stereo to playset Retail:$44.99 Availability: June 2016 Other: Retooled as Soundwave
Hasbro has done a pretty good job delivering on the Leader-class toys, but it's been slow as variety goes - last year we had 2 guys of one mold, 3 of another, and Ultra Magnus. Thankfully Autobot Blaster is all new, and he's one of two knownish all-new molds to be coming so far. I wasn't excited about Blaster at first, mostly because my G1 original is good, and this one is about the same size - but they packed in enough nifty features that I can honestly say I'm having a lot of fun with it. I thank the micro playset compatibility.
This toy gives you a lot of bang for your buck, as well as expansion opportunities. The modes have places to connect other toys, thanks to small pegs and tabs. You can chain together Blaster to other Blasters and make a big, sprawling playset. There are places in his shoulder for a Titan Master sidekick. You can fit a smart device deployer (like Buzzsaw [FOTD #1,338] inside his chest, or use the included slug accessory which is essentially an iPod with clickwheel.
This 1.5-inch robot Titan Master Twin Cast is a good place to start. He's the Headmaster, in the parlance if the classic toys, who lives under the helmet. He clicks in place, and the whole unit turns as one. There is no ball-jointed neck here, but it does swivel nicely. As a robot unto itself, the arms move and there are jointed hips and knees. Even the neck turns - impressive! The figure also can pilot the iPod slug vehicle, man the battle station, hang out on Blaster's tape deck mode, and more. There are little peg holes in his feet, and lots of little pegs on this and other Titans Return toys. (Note: last year's Buzzsaw has pegs which are, sadly, a hair too small for anyone to fit.) For the size, the detail is pretty good. This figure - indeed, the entire figure - serves as a good set to demonstrate the play pattern.
Next up is the iPod/MP3/tablet slug - it's the same size as Buzzsaw's tech mode, and fits in Blaster's chest. It can serve as a hovercraft, a lookout nest, and storage unit. You'll notice there is a storage slot for Twin Cast, meaning he can sit in here, and then be stored in Blaster's chest mode. One side of the black unit has an iPod-style clickwheel, while the other is packed with technical details that, I think, are just there to look neat. There are little speakers on top, all painted in silver. It's nifty.
Now, Big Blaster offers a lot. The tape deck mode is basically a riff on the classic Boombox, to varying degrees of success. The eject button works like a charm, and you can see the speakers are slightly different than the original. (Legacy speakers are on the bottom of the boom box - those show up in robot mode.) The handle rotates up and down, plus there is an exceptional amount of fun detail on the back. For example, there's a faux power button. And a faux power cord socket. And also a 3.5mm headphone jack that doesn't work. I love this - it shows the engineers and sculptors put more thought into this than just to make a nifty box. As with the original, it does not actually play music - but it looks cool. The other modes are far more interesting.
The main event for most fans will be the full-size robot mode. This figure measures roughly 9-inches tall in robot mode including the head. This puts him at a little above Ultra Magnus' head, but below the shoulder stacks. Blaster's chest pops open to fit 1 smart device toy thing (like Rewind or Buzzsaw) and features classic 5mm fists - you can have him hold his blaster, or other accessories. There's also a 5mm post on his right shoulder, with a tiny Titans Return peg on the other shoulder - so any other little robot can hang out there and not fall off. This is useful, you don't want to lose these guys.
The figure has rocker ankles - more or less - plus the usual range of movement befitting a good average toy in this line. The only joints that are a bit of a letdown are his not-swiveling wrists and the not-twisting waist. Everything else is more or less as functional as you please, and because of the sturdy positionable pieces you can get some pretty amazing poses out of this guy. This guy is a great update of the original Blaster, plus or minus a few Energon goodies, that I don't think you'll find many problems with him.
Blaster's deco is also quite good, with faux sticker detailing on his arms, legs, and, ah, skirt. Everything is nice and clean, and there's a metallic Autobot symbol painted on his chest - Hasbro is good at making it look like stickers without actual stickers. It also saves me a lot of trouble, as I don't like stickers. I wish the robot head visor was a brighter color rather than clear colorless, but it's still a decent head, with good silver paint, on an overall good - if chunky - robot mode. Transformation from one mode to the other is also pretty easy, but with all the signs and gizmos you might want to consult the manual just to make sure you don't miss something like I did.
Last, and strangest, is a base mode. Fans initially felt like it looked sort of like a dance club, but it's also a battle base. There are numerous spots to place a 5mm weapon - I hope you've got spares! - as well as more tiny Titan Master robots. You'll see seats, pegs, and other places to plus up this nifty battle station. The deco is good, with a "DANGER" print on there. It also features ramps which connect to other ramps, so if you buy other Leaders or Fortress Maximus you can assemble a micro world playscape. Nothing on here seems particularly specific to any obvious things on the original show or line, but it does give you a nice hangout for your guys to fight back against any invading Decepticons.
It's neat, it's fun, and it gives you something to do with the Mini-Con Weaponizers and/or Titan Masters you've been buying. I'm also tempted to set up a big battle diorama table thing like they showed at Toy Fair or BotCon this year, because man, that looks cool. I don't know if they'll make enough playsets to make it big, but I hope so. I could use some more of these, even if the base isn't necessarily super huge.
As the beginning of a new-to-this-era play pattern, Blaster is a pretty fun toy. I can't imagine any child will be able to afford a decent base setup, and collectors will no doubt finding assembling one an expensive proposition. With a Soundwave retool confirmed, Optimus Prime coming, and a retool of Optimus Prime also coming in Japan, it's hard to know what else we can expect out of playsets or for how long. If nothing else, it's an exciting time to play with this stuff and probably a frustrating time for any collector who purchases extra toys to display in each alt mode. I'd say get at least one Blaster.
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